We can tell the summer months have finally reached the northern hemisphere – everyone is inquiring about standup paddle boards. With all the models, sizes, thicknesses and activity types, how does one choose the best board?
AirKayaks note: Check out the current 20% off sale on all 2014 Red Paddle Co inflatable SUPS!
After speaking with John Hibbard of Red Paddle Company, and Andrew Meakin of Coastal Sports, we’ve updated our previous post on Choosing your Red Air Paddle Board – now for the 2014 models. The table (below) will hopefully take away some of the guesswork and confusing options when looking at the Red Air ISUPs.
For 2014, Red Paddle Company offers 13 models ranging in size from 9 ft 2 inches to 14 ft. 0 inches. This includes the introduction of 4 new models, the installation of two prototype models, and a revamped look on the current seven models.
Well-known for their ruggedness throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, each of the Red Air boards utilize high pressure drop-stitch technology – allowing them to be inflated from 15-25PSI – and feature quadruple rail construction, double layering, thick traction pads and fins. Each board comes with the Red Air EZee or EZee HP pump, allowing one to inflate a paddle board to 20 PSI and higher in less than 10 minutes.
All 2014 Red Air ISUPs now come with an extensively updated backpack featuring integrated wheels, making it easier to thread through airport lobbies, while still comfortable enough to pack into the remote country. An optional backpack can be fitted to the front of the pack or used separately for laptop, work or a day at the beach.
How do you use this table? First, ascertain your size from the list:
- Big & Tall – 210+ lbs and 6’1″ plus inches in height
- Average – 140-200 lbs, 5’7″ to 6’0″ inches in height
- Small – Under 140 lbs, Under 5’7″ inches in height
- Child – Under 100 lbs, under 5’0 inches in height
Then decide the type of paddling you want to do (paddling situations):
- Touring – Ocean, waves, long paddles, camping
- Recreational – Lakes, sloughs, slower rivers, coastal, calm
- Whitewater – Downriver whitewater activities
Determine what attributes are important (or not!) to you – do you want versatility or storage capacity? Stability or speed?
Rank your experience level, realizing that the more you get out on the water, the better you will get. More experienced paddlers can get away with smaller boards. Last of all, will this be used by various members of the family? Do you want the ability to bring along a child, dog or gear? Might two people be on this together?
- Multi Paddlers/Family: Two small adults, Adult and child or dog.
- Advanced Paddler
Follow the color key to decide what board is good for varying sizes and activities:
- Blue – The board is great!
- Green – The board is good.
- Yellow – This board is not recommended.
For instance, if you were 5 feet 10 inches with a weight of 180 lbs, and surfing was the highest priority with a bit of recreational paddling, the Surfer 10-0 would be a good choice. But, if you wished to do predominantly recreational paddling with a bit of surf, the Ride 10-6 would be best.
If you are having trouble viewing the details in the table (separated into two), follow this link for a larger and printable version of the Choosing Your 2014 Red Air Inflatable Paddle Board ISUP.
This section outlines the Surf Star 9-2, Snapper 9-4, Venus/Surfer 10-0, Ride/Venus 10-6:
This table outlines the Mega 10-8, Race 12-6, Explorer 12-6, Max Race 10-6, Elite 12-6 and Elite 14-0:
Why are there varying board thicknesses?
Some of the larger boards feature heavier drop-stitch materials, thus making the boards thicker. What does this mean? The thicker the board (and larger the board) the greater the air volume. This will increase the board rigidity at lower pressures. The Ride and Mega boards – constructed from 120mm materials – will have roughly 20% greater ridigity at 15 PSI than the 100mm material boards (Surf Star, Surfer, All Water), thus will carry more weight. The 150mm material boards – such as the Race and Explorer – will exhibit roughly 50% greater rigidity. But, the 100mm boards (as well as the 150mm Race and Elites) have been beefed up with the Rocker Stiffening System (RSS), which also gives them a roughly 20% boost over the 100mm boards built by other manufacturers.
Do I really need to pump this up to 25 PSI for best performance?
Typically not. We suggest starting off at 15 PSI, and then deciding if you need to go higher – no sense spending time and effort reaching the highest PSI, when it may not get you any better performace. For instance, as a smaller person, I generally don’t pump up my 9-6 AllWater higher than 12 PSI. And one of our customers – at 6’3″ and 300 lbs – found his 12-6 Explorer was perfectly fine at 20 PSI.
- The Incredibly Rugged 15-25 PSI Red Air 10’6 Ride Inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co.
- New Red Air Twelve Six Explorer Inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co.
- Product Review: The Red Air Twelve Six Race Inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co.
- The 15-25 PSI Red Air 9’6 All Water Inflatable SUP with RSS Side Rockers!
So get out and enjoy!